Stars of Research
Stars of Research aims to shine a spotlight on the many projects at the hospital that are looking to find new treatments and advances in patient care.
There are currently more than 300 research projects at NNUH covering many areas of medicine and more than 3,500 patients took part in clinical trials at the Trust last year.
Stars of Research will focus on a different research study every month and will be shared on the Trust’s social media and website using #StarsofResearch hashtag.
The biggest research project into the treatment of tongue-tie has begun with the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) at the forefront of a national study.
The Trust has become the first in the country to join the FROSTTIE clinical trial to help babies with breastfeeding difficulties.
Up to 11% of newborn babies can have tongue-tie, which can affect their ability to breastfeed.
Staff at the NNUH have enrolled the first five babies to the national trial, which aims to find out if skilled support for breastfeeding on its own, or together with a minor snip (frenotomy), helps mothers and their babies to breastfeed.
A research study to help improve care for poorly babies has begun at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at NNUH.
The hospital has become the first in the East of England to sign-up to the NeoCLEAR trial, which aims to improve the treatment of babies with suspected infections or neurological conditions.
The first patients at NNUH have taken part in the study – following consent from their parents – which is investigating the best techniques to carry out a successful lumbar puncture procedure.
A research study to help patients with a painful skin condition has begun after the NNUH enrolled the first volunteer to an international project.
The dermatology research team at the hospital achieved a world-first after becoming the first to sign-up a patient to the Sunshine study.
The clinical trial, which is sponsored by Novartis and supported by the NIHR (National Institute for Health Research), is being run across 33 countries to help patients with a debilitating and recurring skin condition.
Patients living with Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) require constant management to help ease their symptoms and often need surgery.
Eleanor Mishra, Consultant in Respiratory Medicine, said two to four patients a week at NNUH have been volunteering to take part in the study.
“A lot of lung cancers are diagnosed late and LuCID is looking at early detection. Patients with suspected lung cancer have the option of taking part in the trial, which measures volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in exhaled breath.
It takes 10 minutes to get a sample through the mask, which is done at the same time as their hospital appointment, and most patients are very happy to be involved as they want to help other patients in the future.”
The Oncology Team at NNUH has begun the DANTE clinical trial to help patients who are receiving immunotherapy to treat inoperable melanoma.
While immunotherapy appears to be most effective in the first year, some patients with skin cancer have received the treatment for more than two years.
The new trial, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), will find out whether stopping immunotherapy after a year is as effective at controlling the cancer as
treatments over a longer period.
Principal Investigator John Phillips, who is a Consultant Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon at NNUH, said:
“Once fully developed and tested through NNUH sponsored trials, it is hoped that one day the device will be made available at the point of initial referral to a doctor or nurse to avoid delay in diagnosis and to ensure cost-effective use of precious NHS resources.
He said: “Dizziness can be caused by a problem with the inner ear, but dizziness can also be caused be a whole host of conditions, including heart and circulatory conditions, neurological conditions, metabolic conditions (such as diabetes) and even anxiety.
As such it can often be very hard to identify the exact cause of sporadic attacks of dizziness in many patients. Currently, our CAVA device is entirely unique, and provides us with a special opportunity to gain insight into the workings of the ears and brain. As a home-grown device trial, this is the first trial of this kind that NNUH has ever sponsored.”
Prof Paul Clarke, Consultant Neonatologist, said:
“We do a lot of research here to try to keep at the forefront of neonatal care. Everything we are doing with our research involving babies is trying to work out what is better for babies and what treatments may help them to survive as healthily as possible.
We can only move forward if we do research. And we are really grateful to all the parents who generously allow their babies to participate in these important research studies. Currently there are ten clinical research studies underway at NNUH aiming to advance neonatal care.”
“The impact has been huge. We are the only Trust in the East of England to have the IRay
machine to treat wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and patients had to travel down to London before.
It is going well, recruitment is increasing and is helping to make a big impact on the national study to ensure it is successful. More sites in our region are also looking to deliver the study, which will mean that more patients will be able to take part.”
AMD affects the central vision and patients affected are desperate to hold on to their
vision. It affects everything they do and how they enjoy life.”
Beth Gibson, Consultant Obstetrician
“I joined NNUH as a senior registrar in 2016 and became a consultant in August. I was the first registrar at the hospital to become a Principal Investigator (PI).
There is a perception that it is not easy to do research into pregnancy.
However, it is necessary. This is a young, motivated group of patients and they are quite keen to be involved and keen to help. All women should have the opportunity to take part in research and many feel satisfied taking part.
It is important and the benefit of being involved in research is that it really keeps you up to date and you know that you are giving people the best possible evidence.”